Sunday, November 27, 2022

Dutch Bicycles

The Dutch are serious bicycle riders, both in their cities and in rural areas. My family and I walked all around Amsterdam but took a bicycle tour out into the countryside on the dikes that enclose polders (low-lying areas that have been drained and have become farmland). We met tens of families and individuals happily peddling along. This was in 2004. By now, many of these bikes have been electrified or riders have bought new electric ones. I think Gazelle and Batavus were among the most popular brands in the past, but many other companies sold bikes. We need to return to the Netherlands and see how people with a long tradition of biking are doing and what they are riding. 

Here are a collection of interesting bicycles in Amsterdam. (I was inspired by my friend Jim Grey, who posted pictures of bicycles from Indiana.)

Commuting bicycle with enclosed chain

This is a comfortable commuting bicycle with a step-over frame for ladies and a totally enclosed chain to keep rain and mud off their clothing. I think it has a front drum brake, also enclosed for rain protection. 
Polka-dotty step-over frames
Big wheel (28" ?) cruising bicycle

This is a laid-back frame designed for comfort and carrying a child. I do not see  brake handles on the handlebars. so possibly this is a one-speed with a coaster brake. Note the rain covers over the chain and rear wheel. The old-fashioned light generator with an incandescent bulb is seriously inefficient - I remember using them. The faster you ride, the brighter the light.

Step-over bicycle with rusty chain, drum brake, and light generator. Note comfort seat.  

This another single-speed coaster brake bicycle with a relaxed frame, ready for wet riding. I assume these models are old and have heavy steel frames. But they last for decades.

At the Amsterdam central train station.

Commuters come in from the suburbs by train and pick up their bicycle from an outside rack or an enclosed bicycle garage. 

Newer step-over with enclosed chain. Are those white sidewall tyres?
Step-over without hand-operated brakes. More white sidewall tyres??

This is a nice commuter step-over bike with a curved upper bar, similar to the polka-dot models in the previous picture. Nice comfortable seat. This may be a Waffenrad from Steyr - Daimler - Puch AG, Österreich, or an Omafiets. The early Waffenrads used rod-actuated brakes rather than cable-actuated. Rod brakes are still common in India and Nepal.

Sturdy worker bike with double upper frame bars.
Extended wheelbase bicycle for carrying two children. Note the front enclosed drum brake.

These long bicycles have an added triangular frame behind the seat. The add-on section connects to where the rear wheel axle was formerly located.

Two more Waffenrads?

Bicycle bridge and brave pedestrian crossing a canal.

Oops, this lady should have ridden her bike that day. Town of Edam.

The tow truck had a bit of a challenge retrieving the little red car because the tree was in the way and the road was narrow. Maybe this happens a lot?

These are early-vintage digital files from a compact Kodak LS743 digital camera. It applied too much JPEG compression but otherwise did a surprisingly nice nice job for 2004 technology. This was the first digital camera in the family and it served us well.


Jim Grey said...

Nice. I wish we had more everyday bikes like these available in the US. However, some of these were mighty unattractive! I was surprised by how many lacked hand brakes. My current bike has a front handbrake and a rear coaster brake, and I use the handbrake most of the time. It feels more sure.

Khürt L Williams said...

Princeton University is full of bicycles. I’ve only photographed a few. said...

I assume the coaster brakes were common in Amsterdam because of the long rain season. But I also would like a hand brake on the bike.

Suzassippi said...

Fun bicycle tour!